Ernest H. Brooks II (1935-2020)
Photographer | Educator | Adventurer
Ambassador to the Marine Environment, Photographer, Adventurer, Diver, and Educator, Ernest H. Brooks II was born to be a photographer. As the son of Ernest H. Brooks, founder of the internationally-renowned Brooks Institute of Photography, Mr. Brooks was destined to follow in his father's footsteps for part of his life's journey before forging his own path. He graduated from the Brooks Institute, served on the school's executive staff and in 1971 assumed the office of the president, a position he held until 2000 when the school was sold. Throughout his long tenure as the head of Brooks Institute, he carried the duties that come with that corporate territory including keynote speaking at six international conventions, working with national and international organizations and companies to enhance the industry, and encouraging photographic education and promoting photography as a universal language. Along the way, while fulfilling the responsibilities of his office, his achievements earned him numerous accolades and awards.
As a noted professional photographer, educator and ambassador to the industry, Mr. Brooks has won international acclaim for underwater photography and audio/visual presentation. As a working professional, he has contributed to numerous magazines and organizations including: Cousteau Society, California Highways, Ocean Realm, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Nature Conservancy and Natural Wildlife, to name only a few. He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards including:
1973 - 'Triton Award' Inner Space Pacifica, Hawaii
1975 - 'NOGI', given by The Underwater Society of America (now the Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences)
1977 - 'National Award' given by the Professional Photographers of America
1971 through 1980 - Hall of Fame elector Photographic Arts and Science Foundation
1978 - Camera Craftsmen of America
Served on the National Advisory Council of the National Society of Arts and Letters
'Hall of Fame' Underwater Photographic Society
'Platinum Pro Diver Award', given by the Oceanic Community of SSI and Nikon for 5000 hours beneath the sea.
1996 - 'Partner's Award', given by the American Oceans Campaign for his lifelong commitment and dedication to our oceans.
2008 - Inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.
His work has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Monterey Bay Aquarium Shark Exhibit, Yugoslavia 'Man in the Sea,' Our World Underwater, Smithsonian 'Planet Earth' and was also honored by the Smithsonian Institute in January of 1995. He is a member of the Professional Photographers of America and is one of forty photographers in the world admitted to the prestigious Camera Craftsmen of America. As a leader or principal member, Ernest H. Brooks II has participated in projects of international recognition including the photographic investigation into the Shroud of Turin (1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project) and photo-documentation of Arctic research station activities (1977 sponsored by the McGinnis Foundation of Toronto, Canada). He was also a project leader and member of the international panel in the 'Focus on New Zealand' event in 1985, and led a photographic research and travel expedition to the Sea of Cortez aboard the Institute's research vessel, 'Just Love' in 1986.
Mr. Brooks has been a trailblazer in the development of underwater photographic equipment and technique, and has witnessed great industry advances. And though he has harnessed and implemented much of that new technology, at a time when a plethora of color underwater photographs illustrate magazines and glossy brochures, he, perhaps surprisingly, favors black and white. "I don't think that blue, an inherent color of the ocean, really adds to many photographs, especially of mammals - and I like the quality of black and white. Also, I get the personal satisfaction of working with black and white in being able to control the development and printing." The ocean and underwater photography are among his main interests. In the pursuit of dramatic marine images, he has descended into the fascinating waters beneath the polar icecaps as well as into the depths of almost every ocean on Earth.
His photographic legacy is the evidence that has illustrated changes in our environment, while he himself remains a tremendous voice in our need to witness the effect of that change.
You can learn more about Ernest H. Brooks II at erniebrooks.com
Filmmaker | Author | Speaker
Stan Waterman has been at the forefront of scuba diving since its inception as a recreational sport both in this country and throughout the world. His attraction to the underwater world began as a schoolboy in 1936 when he first dived with a Japanese Ama diver’s mask in Florida. In the 1950’s, inspired by Jacques Cousteau’s revolutionary invention of the Aqua Lung, Mr. Waterman acquired the first one in Maine and went on to pioneer scuba diving in that state.
Between 1954 and 1958 he operated a dive business in the Bahamas with a boat he had built specially for diving. His first 16mm film on diving was produced during those years. For the next fifteen years, Mr. Waterman continued to record his worldwide journeys and exploits on film; most were ultimately purchased as television documentaries. In 1965 he took his entire family - wife and three children - to Tahiti. Their careers as television stars were launched when National Geographic purchased the rights to air his film of that year-long experience.
In 1968 he collaborated with Peter Gimbel on the classic shark film, Blue Water, White Death. He was associate producer and underwater cameraman during the seven-month long production. However, he may be best know for his work in commercial film. He was co-director of underwater photography and second unit in the production of The Deep, based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel. In other collaborations with his close friend and neighbor, Mr. Benchley, he was responsible for ten years’ worth of productions for ABC’s “American Sportsman Show”. More recent productions include documentaries for ABC’s “Spirit of Adventure” series and the “Expedition Earth” series on ESPN.
Mr. Waterman has received numerous honors and awards for his work in television and in behalf of the sea including five Emmys, two Gold Medals from the U.K. Underwater Film Festival, four Golden Eagles, a lifetime Achievement Award from the Miami Expo and from Boston Sea Rovers, the Cousteau Diver of the Year Award, the Richard Hopper Day Memorial Medal from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the Reaching Out Award from the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, and most recently has been named to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. The Discovery Channel produced and broadcast a two-hour biographical special about Mr. Waterman, The Man Who Loves Sharks.
Mr. Waterman graduated from Dartmouth in 1946, where he studied with Robert Frost and earned a B.A. in English. He has maintained an appreciation of language and literature throughout his life. He is married and is the father of two sons and a daughter, each of whom has acquired a special love of the sea from him. He and his oldest son, Gordy, a successful cameraman in his own right, won the first father and son Emmy for their work together in the “National Geographic Explorer” production, Dancing With Stingrays.
Mr. Waterman’s first book, Sea Salt, was published in 2005 and is in its third printing. His latest book Sea Salt II: More Salt was just published in 2015.
You can learn more about Stan Waterman at stanwatermanblog.com
Inventor | Entrepreneur | Explorer
Phil Nuytten is the President and Founder of Nuytco Research Ltd and Can-Dive Services Ltd. An internationally recognized pioneer in the diving industry, Phil Nuytten has spent 40 years creating deepwater dive products that have opened the ocean’s depths to exploration and industry.
Through his companies, Nuytco and Can-Dive, he has developed the technology to allow longer-length diving expeditions with increased safety. Nuytten’s one-atmosphere systems the hard-suits ‘Newtsuit’ and ‘Exosuit’, and his deep-diving “DeepWorker” submersibles are renowned internationally. This deep diving equipment, along with Nuytten’s military submarine rescue system (designated ‘Remora’ by the Royal Australian Navy and ‘PRMS’ by the US Navy, is standard in nearly a dozen of the world’s navies.
Contract work has taken him to oilfields, submarine construction sites and sunken wrecks around the world, including the Breadalbane, the northern-most known shipwreck, where his record dives through icy Arctic waters earned him a place on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1984. Nuytten was one of the forces behind the ‘Sustainable Seas Expeditions’ in the 1990’s, a five-year initiative by the National Geographic Society and NOAA to study deep ocean environmental impact. During this project, DeepWorker micro-subs were used to explore and monitor National marine sanctuaries. The findings from this expedition have contributed significantly to scientists’ understanding of underwater ecology, habitats, and biodiversity.
Nuytten and his team are currently training astronauts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to pilot the DeepWorker Submersibles for the NASA Extreme Environment Operations (NEEMO) project, a multi-year research project. NEEMO presents an opportunity to advance the long-term objective of human exploration of near-earth asteroids by combining research on life in extreme environments with high fidelity training in an underwater, remote field setting. The information gained from this analogue project will help to improve the knowledge base, tools and techniques for future human space exploration.
Phil Nuytten has spent over forty years developing undersea systems that have the safety of the diving technician as their common theme. His goal has been to provide scientific, technical, military, and sport divers full access to continental shelf depths without the hazards of decompression, so that humans can explore, learn about, and - ultimately - protect the world’s oceans.
You can learn more about Phil Nuytten at nuytco.com
Artist | Conservationist
Renowned marine life artist Wyland changed the way people think about our environment when he started painting life-size whales on the sides of buildings in the 1980s. Wyland always thought big. And he never stopped.
Today, the Wyland name has become synonymous with the new generation of awareness about environmental conservation. Through his unique marine life paintings, sculptures, and photography, Wyland has inspired a generation about the importance of marine life conservation. His life – like his art – can find him anywhere around the world, at any time, from the Antarctic ice shelf on a photo expedition to document climate change to a grassroots journey down the Mississippi River on a mission of conservation.
The multi-faceted artist, scuba diver, educator, and explorer has hosted several television programs, including, “Wyland’s Ocean World” series on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet Network, “Wyland: A Brush With Giants” and “Wyland’s Art Studio,” a series for national public television. His mission of engaging people through nature-themed art and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle has led to strategic alliances with such notable organizations as the United States Olympic Team, United Nation Environment Program, and Walt Disney Studios, to name a few.
Wyland’s 100th and final Monumental Marine Life Mural, Hands Across the Oceans, a 24,000-square-foot, half-mile-long series of canvas murals with student artists from 110 countries, was displayed in October 2008 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and honored by the National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. In May 2010, the United Nations released six Wyland images for an international stamp issue celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
Since 1993, the non-profit Wyland Foundation has set the standard for environmental outreach. In partnership with the United States Forest Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Wyland is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the world to become caring, informed stewards of our ocean, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands.
The enormous extent of Wyland public artworks (it is estimated that his murals are viewed by more than a billion people every year), his award-winning art galleries, and community service projects have made him one of the most recognized and beloved artists in the nation.He is considered one of the most influential artists of the 21st Century, with artwork in museums, corporate collections, and private homes in more than one hundred countries.
You can learn more about Wyland at wyland.com
Professor Joseph J. Valencic
Professor of Marine Science & Technology
Joe Valencic has been a pioneer in the development and use of underwater technology for science, photography, and industry for over 40 years. He was involved with National Geographic's Sustainable Seas Expedition, Technical Advisor for the Endangered Species Recovery Council, Chief Scientist for California State Crystal Cove Underwater Park, Consultant to the State of California on Artificial Reef Monitoring, and developed and taught the first Internet oceanography course fully approved throughout the University of California College System.
He has developed, utilized, piloted, and lectured on submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROV) for undersea research and documentation including the 6-Gill Submersible Shark Expedition and Dr. Bob Ballard's Jason Project, and was a trained Aquanaut for the WRUL Man-In-The-Sea Program.
Professor Valencic has research affiliations with The Scripps Institute of Oceanography and The National Science Foundation, and is a Professor Emeritus of Marine Sciences at SBCC Mission Viejo, CA. He was the Senior Oceanographer and Marine Scientist at Global Marine Monitoring Technology, and Consulting Scientist of R&D at Exomos Submersibles, Dubai, UAE.
He is the President of Quest-Tek Electronics that develops advanced miniature video and computer technologies. He is also a member of the American Academy of Underwater Scientists, the Marine Technology Society, the Explorers Club NYC, and the Adventurers Club of Los Angeles.
Educator | Founder of the World Festival of Underwater Images
Born in 1931 in the suburbs of Paris, Daniel Mercier's youth was an unrequited desire to explore. During the period after WWII, it was difficult to realize his dream. So, at 20 years old he left Paris for Switzerland where he became interested in educating youth, doing research on the different teaching methods.
In 1947 he made his first "uncertified" dive in the south of France at Antibes, and finally moved to Antibes in 1961 and became a "certified" diver two years later. He founded the legendary Spondyle Club in 1966, which grew into one of the largest diving clubs in France. He then became a state instructor of diving and today holds a "3rd State Degree", the highest national level of diving instructors. From 1968 - 1984 he was the President of the Cote D'Azur Regional Education Commission and National Instructor, and a member of the National and International College. In 1973 Mr. Mercier founded the National Association for Diving Instructors ‘Les Guides de la Mer’, a professional syndicated association. Today he is the Honorary-Founding President and carries on the activities of the ‘Les Guides de la Mer’ in the seas and oceans of the world.
In 1974 with the Spondyle Club team, he founded the Festival Mondial deL'Image Sou-Marine [FMISM] (World Festival of Underwater Images) with the goal of promoting the underwater world, stimulating the making of new underwater films and photographs, and creating an event that would be a meeting place for everyone who feels passionately about the sea. He succeeded. With Daniel as its President and Organizer, the festival grew to become the most prestigious underwater film festival in the world. It has been chaired by many of the world's most legendary figures including Jacques-Yves Cousteau (who won several film awards there) and Prince Albert of Monaco.
Mr. Mercier became the President of the Cote D’Azur Committee of the French Federation of Studies and Underwater Sports in 1975, and served as its Vice President from 1976-1980. In 1985 he founded and organized the Festival of the Mountains and Images (for which he had gained a great interest in while living in Switzerland) taking the example of the Underwater Film Festival. By 1991 he had helped create the European Committee of Professional Diving Instructors [C.E.D.I.P], a European organization bringing together professional diving Instructors from all over the world.
Since founding the World Festival of Underwater Images in 1974, the FMISM had collected a considerable number of works (movies, photographs, etc.). So, in 2001 Mr. Mercier created the the Foundation du Festival Mondial de L'Image Sous-Marine to preserve and manage this wealth of diving heritage and make it available to researchers, scientists, and enthusiasts.
Daniel Mercier has been recognized multiple times for his decades of contribution to the diving world and the furtherance of diving education. Some of his recognitions include:
1992 - Receives the ‘Trident d’Or’, becoming a member of the International Academy of Science and Techniques Subaquatiques of Ustica. Receives the Gold Medal for Youth and Sports.
1993 - Receives the ‘Tauchpionierpreis’, that honors the diving pioneers in Germanic countries. This was presented to him on Gose Austria on September 1993. He is the 2nd Frenchman to receive this prize; the first went to the legendary Commander Philippe Taillez.
1995 - Was elected "Man of the Year" in the Diving Domain by the Israeli magazine YAM.
2002 - Honorary Medal of the National Federation of Volunteers of Joinvillias, given by the Comity Provence-Cote d’Azur-Corse-Monaco.
2003 - Knight of the Order of Maritime Merit.
2005 - Receives the "Hans Hass Diving to Adventure Award", given by the Historical Diving Society USA. He was only the 3rd person to receive this prize.
2008 - Inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.
Today Daniel Mercier is preoccupied in finding solutions to enable the continuity of his different creations and foundations. His slogan: "Diving, the school of life."
You can learn more about the World Festival of Underwater Images at underwater-festival.com
Andre' Laban (1928-2018)
Engineer | Author | Photographer | Artist
Andre Laban is a World-renowned French diver, photographer, author, and painter. André Laban was a pioneering member of Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Calypso team, serving as chief engineer and diver. He developed early underwater cameras that were used in shooting The Silent World which won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1956.
He shot several films in the Cousteau Odyssey series, co-directed three, and his distinctive baldhead can been seen in several Cousteau films. From 1956-1966 he was Director of the French Office Underwater Search. In 1966 he began to paint his underwater images which are internationally acclaimed and collected worldwide. In 1996 he won the Palme d’Or at the World Festival Underwater Images in Antibes for his film Iris and Oniris. A collection of the photographs he produced from 1973 to 1983 has been published as ‘One Bald Man,’ released in 2007. He is the recipient of numerous international awards.
You can learn more about Andre' Laban at https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/André_Laban
Educator | Author | Dive Industry Leader
Dan Orr is President of Dan Orr Consulting providing a variety of services to the diving community. Recently retired from the position of President of Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Chairman of the Board of International DAN, he has helped DAN focus on its worldwide diving safety mission. Prior to coming to DAN, he worked and taught recreational diving in a retail store, developed and implemented course curricula in the academic environment, collected data and supervised research efforts in the field of science diving, tested diving equipment for military contractors. He also has served the diving community on the Boards of various not-for-profit organizations during his career including the Historical Diving Society (Chairman of the Board), ADM Exploration Foundation (Director), Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), Our World Underwater Scholarship Society and many others.
He has published and co-authored over 100 articles and a dozen books and manuals including: Scuba Diving Safety, Pocket Guide to First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries; Pocket Guide for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries; and the DAN Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries Training Manual.
He has been honored by his peers by being the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors including the NOGI Award in Sports/Education, the Leonard Greenstone Award for Diving Safety, the Our World-Underwater Award, Beneath the Sea’s Diver of the Year, the Wyland Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement and the 2012 DEMA Reaching Out Award.
You can learn more about Dan Orr at danorrconsulting.com
Director | Underwater Cameraman | Technical Consultant
Born and raised in France, Louis began to scuba dive in 1964 on the rugged coast of Brittany and became a Helicopter Rescue Swimmer with the French Air Force. He later joined the Cousteau Expeditions in 1968, first as a diver on camera in the early shows of the series “The undersea world of Jacques Cousteau”. Soon after, he began an extensive training program in underwater camera technology to work as assistant cameraman on the legendary Calypso. After studying at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Louis worked as a DP/Cameraman underwater specialist and rejoined the Cousteau Expeditions starting with an award winning series in the jungle of the Amazon.
During more than thirty years of travel around the world, Louis has led teams to shoot in remote locations, directed televisions series and documented countless adventures above and under water on film and video from Alaska to Antarctica. Louis contributed to major theatrical productions and filmed spectacular action scenes with sophisticated remote controlled helicopters.
Over the years, Louis Prezelin has build up an exceptional expertise in underwater technology. He was commissioned to direct several complex technical projects such as the construction of highly sophisticated camera and lighting systems for the Cousteau Society as well as Ocean Futures Society.
You can learn more about Louis Prezelin at pacificvisionsinc.com
Photographer | Cinematographer
From the freezing climes of Antartica and Greenland to the heat and humidity of the Amazon, Chuck Davis has worked as a specialist in marine and underwater photography and cinematography. His motion picture filming credits include work on several IMAX films, including Ring of Fire (underwater lava scenes), Whales, The Greatest Places, Amazing Journeys, Search for the Great Sharks, and two Academy Award-nominated IMAX films, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild and The Living Sea (underwater/marine scenes of Monterey Bay). Davis’s cinematography experience has also included numerous expeditions worldwide with the Cousteau filming teams working with the late Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his son Jean-Michel during production of the Rediscovery of the World TV series. He has also worked on feature films such as Warner Brothers’ SPHERE and documentary projects for the Discovery/Learning Channel, BBC, PBS, CBS, ABC, A&E, NBC/Universal and National Geographic Channel. Recent cinematography projects include work as the director of photography for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s “Ocean Adventures” PBS TV series, the Smithsonian’s Who We Are (a special dome-theater film for the National Museum for the American Indian, in Washington, D.C.), and the avant-garde production, Crystal Palace, filmed in Papua New Guinea for director, Mathias Poledna.
A widely published still photographer, Chuck’s images have appeared nationally and internationally in magazines such as B+W, ORION, LIFE, National Geographic, Audubon, Nature’s Best, Defenders, National Wildlife, Outside, Scientific American, Terre Sauvage, BBC Wildlife, Italy’s FOCUS/Extra, Ocean Realm and numerous Cousteau publications. His fine art black and white and color work has been represented in special exhibitions by the Ansel Adams Gallery, the Christopher Bell Collection Gallery, the OCEANS Gallery in Los Angeles and in multi-photographer exhibits at the National Geographic Society/Explorer’s Hall in Washington, D.C., Nikon House/New York, The Center for Photographic Art, Brooks Institute and the San Francisco International Airport. Davis's work is included in numerous private and corporate collections; he is also the author/photographer of California Reefs/Chronicle Books.
Davis earned degrees in fisheries biology from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and in filmmaking from the Brooks Institute of Photography. The main thrust in Davis’ personal work is helping to stimulate marine environmental awareness and conservation via the use of marine and underwater imagery.
You can learn more about Chuck Davis at tidalflatsphoto.com
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